Report, Bill Focus on Violence Against Women in Combat Areas

A new report by Save the Children ranks Afghanistan as the third worst combat area for families. The study identified six critical “protection needs” for women and children, including protection from sexual violence and physical harm, protection from trafficking and prostitution, and protection from psychological trauma. Iraq ranked 27th on the list of areas that have experiences war since 1990. “As dangerous as it has been for mothers and children in Iraq in recent months, life remains even more perilous for women and children in many other conflict areas,” said Save the Children President Charles MacCormack, according to the Associated Press.

Lawmakers in Congress introduced the Women and Children in Armed Conflict Act yesterday to provide $45 million to prevent and respond to violence against women and children in conflict areas in the civilian population, according to Voice of America. “[T]he United States has not done nearly enough to coordinate efforts to respond to violence against women and children in [conflict] situations. This new legislation will make protection of women and children in war situations a much higher priority,” said Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), one of the co-sponsors of the act, in a Save the Children press release.

Meanwhile, the US delegation at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women in March called for the deletion of important language in an agreement concerning violence against women. Specifically, the US, along with Iran, Pakistan, and the Sudan, objected to language stating that countries would agree to “condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition, or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” according to a press release from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). This is not new language, but rather text that has been agreed upon in UN meetings, conferences and documents, according to Women’s eNews. “It’s remarkable to see that after decades of work by feminist activists and 12 years of UN conferences to see the ways that women’s human rights are still seen as negotiable,” Charlotte Bunch, executive director of Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global leadership, told WeNews.


Save the Children press release 5/6/03; Carolyn Maloney press release 4/29/03; WeNews 4/24/03; Associated Press 5/6/03; Voice of America 5/6/03

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